She calls you. Its 2 am. Its way past her usual bedtime. She shouldn’t even be awake. You think she dialled your number by mistake, in her sleep, you ignore her call. But then again, the silence is your room is broken your phone vibrating again, with her number flashing.

You reach out and take the call “Hey! How are…”, only to be greeted by a muffled “Hi, can you talk?”, giving away the fact that she’s not okay. She begins pouring her heart out to you, pausing to breathe, barely, and to hear your reassuring “Yes, I’m listening, go on”. And as she tells you how messed up everything back home is, your heart beats almost as fast as hers is pounding.

Your thoughts begin to wander just then, you’re listening to her voice, but you can’t think of what to tell her. How do you make her feel better? Just a little-less-miserable than she was before she called you?

You decide make her laugh. You “jovially” put in a smart-alecky one liner. She pauses, tries to comprehend your words, and just continues talking, breathing heavily. Yes, that was a failed attempt.

Maybe she needs some water, you decide. Your voice guides her to the nearest water bottle and you listen as she takes a sip, and then another, still planning your next move. Still thinking about how to fix her.

You want so much to make her feel alright. To ease the pain. To let her know that it’s going to be okay. But you just don’t know how to use your words anymore. Years of reading and practising the English language fail you. Helpless. That’s how you feel. Helpless.

You just listen to her, cry silently with her, without letting her know. And before you know it, you’ve managed to put the angel to sleep. You can hear her breathe silently, you can picture the serene face. You feel better, atleast you made her stop crying. But, now, what do you do about the tears flooding your eyes?


On The Verge Of Extinction

It was just another day, in my 15-day-old life. I used my prehensile lip to grasp grass stems, bite off the top, and eat the grass. The sun went down, as I wandered, alone. I enjoy my solitude. I like talking to myself, and bleating at the trees, who reply to me with the rumbling sound of their leaves.

I gazed at the leafy sky and tried to join the scintillating dots to form a face I knew and missed the most. The serene sky reminded me of my mother, her patient and tender eyes. She had been hunted down by some two-legged creatures whose scent I had never before smelt. I still remember hearing rubber move on the ground and a large metallic vehicle stop. When those creatures spotted my mother, two pulled out, what looked like long sticks. One screeched and was soon joined by more of his type. Five surrounded my mother with a net, a few of them were holding those sticks. Bang! Bang! Bang! Three of them shot her one-by-one, and left behind an eerie silence.

I can never forget their fiery, murderous eyes and my mothers helpless, pleading ones. She asked me to run and hide. Those were her last words to me…

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The sun set on another evening of May,
They played with their toys all day,
They couldn’t have known, they didn’t,
Their grandmother was no more, and they had no hint

One was seven, and the other five
Their mother thought, they were too naïve,
To comprehend this invariable cycle of life,
A man’s destiny, which God, Himself writes

The father thought, they ought to know
The curiosity in their young minds would only grow
The kids cherished her presence, they loved her dearly
She would remain etched in their memory…

The five-year-old tugged her mother’s white sari
And asked, “Where is she, where is dadi?”
The other sat on his father’s lap and looked up at his face
He wondered why his father’s eyes never met his gaze…

The two, old, sullen eyes met each other
How would they tell them about the beloved grandmother?
They stood there still, tongue tied,
How were they to tell them that she had died?

This one is still untitled, I just can’t name it.  Suggestions are welcome.

Not for reproduction.

A Wish

His heart seemed to palpitate, regretfully,
Just to hear that one voice, that would make his day
And let him die peacefully…

It was his birthday today,
He couldn’t decide if he should be happy or sad,
He thought about the last eighty years as he lay

He had lived his life in repentance.
He wondered if his son remembered,
Not having spoken to his kin proved to be a bitter sentence

All that he wanted was forgiveness,
For the deeds that appeared justified then,
But now had transformed his life into a living mess

Something told him, that his wish would be granted,
His conscience pricked the fatuous desire,
He wanted to believe that thought, but it fainted

He didn’t let the tears spoil the postcard, the last one
His son had sent, countless years back.
He lay there, feeling numb and lone

He faintly heard the shrill sound of the phone,
And his cold fingers slowly gripped the receiver as he lay,
His heart thumped hearing the voice’s tone.

God had displayed his benign grace
And fulfilled his last wish
A smile spread across his wrinkled face

But he did not respond, not a word he said,
His heart’s last temptation had been satisfied
He lay, as if cold and dead…

Not for reproduction.

The Phone Call

It was a dark evening this Thursday night,
And as she sat on the green garden grass,
She gazed above and saw a moon, so white,
Glaring right back at her

She held the pendant which read,
‘To My Little Angel’, close to her heart
And remembered her father and what he said,
I’ll always be here for you’.

But it seemed as though the sky, so dim
Told her, something wasn’t right,
There was something, pulling her away from him,
An invisible and mysteriously invincible strength

She didn’t know why, a tear trickled down,
She couldn’t understand why,
Those tears filled her eyes, so brown,
And then unknowingly, began to weep out loud

The night surged on, and there she was,
Without a sound, still holding on,
Wondering why her cries wouldn’t pause,
Why her eyes didn’t dry…

She went astray in the thoughts, of those memories, so sweet
And thinking about those marvellous days she spent
With her dad, made her heart skip a beat
She knew, something wasn’t the way it used to be…

The phone began to ring, in the dead of the night,
Feeling so numb, she ignored the shrill sound,
It rang yet again, so she got up, slowly with all her might,
She walked, slowly to the buzzing receiver.

She greeted the solemn voice, with a meek ‘hello’,
The voice seemed to bring her, the news she dreaded,
The news which made her face turn yellow,
And she insensitively dropped the receiver…

Not for reproduction.

The Elder Sibling

“You’ve got to set an example for her to follow” and “Look after her, and she’ll look up to you” are amongst things that I hear being ‘the elder sibling’. Ever since I was three I’ve been ‘blessed’ with a sister. And it is since then that she just needs to shed a tear and then the combat is won!!

All my dolls and soft toys now belong to her and if they come back in tatters or are wrecked, she has a pretty good excuse. All I’m supposed to do is to ‘forgive and forget’. A few years down memory lane, I’ve even had to play with her, all those games which seem juvenile and have had to learn the art of seeming to enjoy the cartoons, which no longer interest me.

I have to keep a track of the time and see that we don’t get delayed in catching the bus for school. And all that she has to do is maintain a record of all those cartoons on television and the time to ‘feed’ and put her dolls to sleep.

In birthday bashes or at school, it’s my job, you can say, to see to it that my younger sibling does not misbehave or is not up to any mischief.

Whether I am working on the computer or watching a program on television, she will always want to do the same at the very same time…sometimes I give in to her, but typically I prefer to fight and you can guess the consequences.

Be it us bickering, or me screaming at her (she must’ve have done something wrong!), it is I who always is held responsible; before I storm out of the room grumbling that she started it!

Even during the exam time, she has all the time to play and fool around, whereas, I’ve got to slog and even restrict my time for sleeping and eating. Hey! That’s not fair, but it’s always going to be that way…she is the younger one, remember?

It’s not all that bad being the elder one. I sometimes feel guilty because I keep making her do all my chores. Even though she argues with me, she gives in and always helps me out…even if she is reluctant. She looks up to me and listens to ME …yes! Me! As if it is the last word.

It makes me feel so esteemed, when she looks up to me with wonder-struck eyes, listens to all my explanations in awe, when she grasps my hand before crossing the road…these little innocent gestures make my day. Yes, she depends on me and I love her. She is an asset in making me a better person; I know there is always those bright sparking eyes watching me make my next move and trying to emulate me. How can I do wrong?

And behind all those quarrels over a piece of chocolate or, who gets to hold the remote, is a love that truly binds the both of us together. I feel it whenever she is sick, or wounded I feel very sorry for her because it is my sister who is hurt and I try to do all that I can and be benevolent to make her feel better. And when she is scolded, I feel my heart throb very fast and I feel anxious to know what happened.

I feel forlorn when she is not around, and be it those pathetic jokes, which I have to pretend laughing at or the numerous times she drops something and I call her ‘butter fingers’, she gives me company and always keeps me entertained.

My friends, who don’t have a sibling to share with, tell me how lonesome they feel at home. Alone, without anyone to talk to, quarrel with and share the novelties of the day. They are surely missing out on the very basic, down-to-earth and sometimes irritating explanations for everything.

While I know we will always be quarrelling over the stupidest of things, she will always be my sweet (and naughty) little sister.

We have already promised to each other that when we grown up, we will not waste our phone bills calling each other up – I don’t think I will be able to resist that temptation.

Not for reproduction.